Nubia had been interested in the construction industry ever since she was a little girl in Cuba. Her stepdad built their home out of red brick and cement with skills he learned in the Cuban army and it was the best house in the neighborhood. Her stepdad inspired her passion for the trades, but at the time, she thought it was a man’s work environment, so she didn’t think it was a career she could pursue.
As she grew up, she moved to Miami and eventually to Minnesota working in customer service-related jobs. As a mother of two children with special needs, she needed to find work that would better support her family. Her years in customer service had also taught her that she didn’t like being stuck working at a desk all day. While on the CareerForce website, she noticed a flyer about the MnDOT-DEED Highway Heavy Construction Training and Placement Program and it was like music to her ears.
“It was exactly what I was looking for and after applying I heard back from the program right away. It was like a gift. I’m so grateful for the program,” Nubia said.
The trainers were very welcoming and assuring that after five weeks Nubia and others in the training would know everything they’d need to find secure, well-paying jobs in the construction industry.
“During the program, they make you comfortable about not feeling comfortable because most people in the class haven’t had any experience in the construction industry,” explained Nubia. “We all became like a little family during our time together. After the hard year that I’d had, that program became my light at the end of the tunnel.” Nubia learned how to become a cement mason and was provided the tools and boots needed to work out in the field. During the course, she practiced how to break apart cement curbs, gutters and sidewalks as well as how to form new ones. While building her skills, she also was given help building her resume so she would be ready to put herself out there in the job market once the course was over.
After she completed her training, she found work as a laborer with a local cement mason union for a highway project in Crosby, Minnesota. She was so happy to be working in a beautiful little town and using her skills in the real world.
She’d always admired those who worked in the construction industry, but never initially saw herself pursuing this career path. Thanks to the MnDOT-DEED Highway Heavy Construction Training and Placement Program, she was able to build her skills and her confidence to go after a career she’d wanted ever since she was a little girl in Cuba.